Reclamation – Widely Opening Eyes

Since the arrest of a city councilor, Mohammad Sanusi and Ariesman  Widjaja, by Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) investigators for allegedly accepting  bribes from property giant PT Agung Podomoro Land (APL) to influence the drafting of bylaws on zoning in the project area, the  reclamation mega-project in Jakarta Bay is now becoming the spotlight of the news.
Far from our concern, Indonesia actually has four completed, another four underway and the remaining six reclamation projects are still in the pipeline. According to Indonesian Forum for the Environment (Walhi), almost all reclamation projects in Indonesia have  violated bylaws on zoning of coastal areas and small islands, including projects in Jakarta, Makassar, Palu, Balikpapan, Bali and the planned projects in Kendari, Lombok, Belitung and South Aceh but public’s attention tends to focus only on reclamation projects in Jakarta, Bali and Makassar, because those cities are categorized as national strategic zones.
The Jakarta reclamation project itself was initially a part of the National Capital Integrated Coastal Development (NCICD) plan, more popularly known as the Great Garuda, which aims to build a seawall to keep water out of the city and to help slow subsidence. And now the land reclamation was later taken over by the Jakarta city administration, involving the construction of 17 artificial islets developed by private companies off the north coast of the capital.
As the responsibility of the project has been moved, Ahok, the governor of Jakarta, argued that the reclamation project was based on Presidential Decree No. 52/1995 on the Reclamation of the Jakarta’s northern coastal area. The governor even said, “We still refer to a presidential decree and already passed bylaws” to
The draft bylaw on the zoning of coastal areas and small islands, which is deliberated in the Jakarta City Council, would be another illegal basis for the development of the project, “because the draft bylaws has not been approved, it (PT APL) cannot obtain the building construction permit (IMB)”, said the governor of Jakarta.
While the governor only saying PT Agung Podomoro (APL) cannot obtain the building construction permit so they can still continuing the process, APL said that the developing  has been stopped due to thecontroversy. But the fact is, until today, the reclamation is still going on.
On Wednesday, April 27th 2016, a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Joko Widodo at the State Palace in Jakarta has made a decision towards this issue. The central government has decided to press ahead with a scandal-stricken reclamation project in Jakarta Bay, with the central and city  governments promising to take full and firm control. And according to the governor, the President has said that he will issue new regulations, as the existing regulations do not regulate reclaimed islets.
With the decision, I hope, the government would prioritize the interest of the public, including fishermen whose livelihoods depend on the bay, and no longer ignoring the interests of  fishermen because the project was (or maybe still, is) carried out solely by private companies.


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